Walk into any business, and you can almost instantly spot the owner.
It’s not always their clothes, either. Some dress with more authority, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes they’re the ones in the tie-dye and sandals. And age doesn’t give it away either, as they’re usually not the oldest in the room.
How can you almost always instantly spot the owner?
What is it? Because if it’s not the clothes or the age, it has to be something else. Maybe something less…tangible.
And then you start to see it:
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There’s something “heavier” about the owner.
There’s a certain “gravity” to their presence. As the employees clean this or take care of that you can tell their minds are far away, thinking about what they’ll do when their shifts end.
But the owner is right here. She’s more centered. She’s tethered to this place, as if her feet were glued to the floor. It’s like every detail of the place is an extension of her.
And it makes sense. She’s the one who has to keep the business alive. She’s the one who pays the bills and brings in the customers. She’s the one who writes the salary checks, who makes sure the building is up to code and the product is up to snuff and the customers are happy and coming back.
She’s the blood in its veins, the one who bears it all.
That is the big difference: responsibility. The employees are responsible for tasks. The owner is responsible for people, including herself.
Because when you’re an entrepreneur, suddenly your well-being – and the well-being of others – falls on your shoulders.
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It is all up to you. You can’t point a finger at Jim in Accounting or Meredith in Project Management. You go out and make stuff happen or nothing does.
That weight plants you more firmly on the ground, which accounts for that intangible sense of gravity. It keeps your business in your thoughts, keeps you “glued to the floor,” even when you’re on vacation.
Slack off for a week at a desk job, and your checks will still come. Other people will keep the company alive. You can take a break here and there; no one will notice and everything will be alright.
Slack off for a week in your own business, and everyone will notice, because it could be the difference between eating and not.
As an employee, businesses feel so stable. There are tiers of management and infrastructure and all that. There’s a feeling of safety and security. The moment you cross the threshold and start your own, you realize how fragile they all really are. They’re all speeding through a curvy mountain pass, right along the edge.
Not everyone can handle that pressure. It weighs on you morning and night. The earth’s gravity suddenly doubles.
But remember this:
It took us years as infants to get used to regular gravity. It took us months to even stand up at all.
Entrepreneurship is the same way. At first you will feel like a rocket that just took off. The rush and the exhilaration will push you like no other. And then, the responsibility and the pressure will start to weigh on you. It will be hard at times, impossible even, but you’ll learn to live with it, and to stand tall anyway.
And then, after that, you’ll learn to love it.
Because when everything falls on your shoulders, and every battle is determined by you…
It feels so darn good to win one.
The world is constantly telling us that we can’t. It’s telling us to take the easy road and do what everyone else is doing. It’s telling you not to risk it, because “what if…” Being an entrepreneur is scary, risky business. But it’s also a middle finger right in the face of limits, of “should” and “shouldn’t,” “can” and “can’t,” “supposed to” and “not supposed to.”
It’s being living proof that it can be done, that there’s more to the world than what you’re told. That you really can follow your heart in this life.
And that feels amazing.
When you share your story with others, they will question their own lives, and think about their choices a little more deeply. You might even inspire some to follow their dreams, too.
And then, months or years from now, when you look around at your life, and you’re providing for yourself and your family all from your own blood, sweat, and tears… you’re helping people, making their lives better and yours too – and all from that impossible risk you took, all from bearing the “double gravity” and smiling anyway, you’ll look around and think:
“Holy cow. I did this.”
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